Located in the center of the old city of Leiden the botanical garden of the University of Leiden, the "Hortus Botanicus" is completely surrounded by channels and old buildings.
One of the people who supported the Hortus almost 200 year ago was Dr. Philipp Franz von Siebold. This man, from origin a German medical doctor was hired by the Dutch government to support the Dutch army troops in Indonesia, a formal colony of The Netherlands.
Because he seems to get well with people from other cultures and also had some political skills he soon was sent to Japan to get as many information as he could get about this country that kept his borders so tightly closed to all foreigners.
To make a long story a little bit shorter, he succeeded to get the trust of the Japanese government and then he started to collect a huge number of specimen of all kind of Japanese plants, animals and art objects.
Many of these specimen, seeds, plants and even trees found a place in several Dutch and some other European botanical gardens.
To remember this man and to honor him for his fine work a small garden was build after his death (1866) in the Hortus Botanicus.
Behind the little Japanese building stands a bronze sculpture of Von Siebold. Visitors from all around the world, not suprisingly a lot from Japan, visit this garden.
If art, gardens and culture has your interest you should visit the Hortus Botanicus and the Siebold Huis (museum) in Leiden whenever you visit The Netherlands.
Remember that Leiden is close to Amsterdam where you can find The Bulldog and many other coffee shops that sells first quality "agriculture products", so when you find the botanical garden a little bit boring no harm is done and your visit to The Netherlands can still be successful ;-)